The Mega Millions jackpot is $421 million. What to do if you win
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Of course, the chance of your ticket hitting the Mega Millions jackpot is tiny – around one in 302 million.
Still, it’s worth thinking about what you would do if you managed to beat the odds. For Friday night’s draw, matching all six numbers drawn would mean landing $421 million.
The amount has increased since late October, when $108 million was won. This marked the last of six jackpots awarded in 2021, which ranged from $55 million to $1.05 billion.
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If you end up joining the short list of first prize winners, there are some things to consider before you do anything.
To begin with, lottery tickets are considered “bearer instruments”, which means whoever holds them is considered the owner. This means you seriously need to protect it.
Take a photo of yourself with the winning ticket, said certified financial planner Joe Buhrmann, senior financial planning consultant at eMoney Advisor. Also, put the ticket somewhere safe, like a safe, until it’s time to claim your bargain.
Also, you may want to sign the back of the ticket. Just be aware that in some states this could interfere with your ability to claim the prize through a trust or other legal entity that would protect your identity from the public.
It’s also worth sharing exciting news with as few people as possible. If you can’t remain anonymous — it depends on state law — you need to think about how to avoid becoming the target of scammers as well as long-lost family and friends.
“You may have been friendless and unknown to passers-by on the streets,” Buhrmann said. “Everything will change when you are announced as the winner. »
You should also turn to experienced professionals to guide you through the claims process and the many facets of protecting your bargain. Your team should include a lawyer, a financial advisor, a tax advisor and an insurance professional.
This group can help you determine whether you want to receive your earnings in one lump sum or in 30 payments over 29 years. Most lottery winners choose the immediate and reduced cash amount. For the $421 million Mega Millions jackpot, the cash option is $290.9 million.
Either way, the money would be subject to a 24% federal withholding tax before reaching you. For this jackpot, taking the money would mean around $69.8 million would be wiped out, leaving you with $221.1 million. Depending on where you won the jackpot, there may also be state tax withholdings.
Additional federal income taxes would likely also be due at tax time, given the 37% top rate. There may also be more to pay in state taxes, depending on the jurisdiction’s withholding rate.
It’s also worth thinking about how your life will change, and not just from a financial point of view.
“Consider how this newfound wealth will change your marriage, your family, and your dynamics with friends and neighbors,” Buhrmann said.
You might even want to seek advice from a financial therapist or mental health professional to help you deal with winning stress, he said.
Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot is $104 million for Saturday night’s draw. The cash option is $72.5 million. As with Mega Millions, the odds of a single ticket winning the jackpot are minimal: one in 292 million.